Now that I’ve got your attention…. Don’t worry, there really is no way to use hand grippers wrong.
When it comes to hand grippers, they’re pretty basic to use. You put it in the palm of your hand and crush it.
We will have a quick run through of some basic crushes / techniques you can use with your gripper
What is a Hand Gripper?
A hand gripper is one of the most popular grip strength training tools out there. They’re small, easy to use and have great benefits. They come in all shapes and sizes, the majority of you reading this will be familiar with the adjustable gripper.
This is a plastic handled gripper with a spring that allows you to adjust the tension.
If you’re completely new to grippers, this is the place to start. They are great for getting you used to the motion, and the adjustable tension allows you to track your progress.
It’s great closing a tension you couldn’t when you first started.
The second type of gripper is the metal gripper. Aluminium handled, torsion spring gripper if we’re being specific. These grippers are available in much higher resistances than the adjustable grippers.
One of the most noticeable differences is the handles, the adjustable grippers have a rubber padding. This is to protect your hands. The metal grippers have knurling, this is much rougher feeling, which is by design.
What is Knurling
Knurling is a finishing process used to create any combination of horizontal, vertical or crossing lines on the surface of a work piece. It allows better grip on the handle therefore helping prevent any slipping.
The addition of a good knurling and chalk will allow a very solid grip on your hand gripper.
Some knurlings are much rougher than others, depending on how much of a hardcore gripster you are, roughness is either a good or bad thing.
Did I mention they also come in a variety of awesome colours?
Using Your Hand Gripper
Most people will just get hold of their gripper and crush it. There is nothing wrong with that. But the ‘regular’ way to use the gripper is as follows:
- Spring at the top
- Handles resting in the palm of your hand
- Handles touch when closed
- That is how to perform 1 repetition. For the rep to count, the handles have to close.
A slightly more advanced technique when closing your gripper is called the set. A set close is when you position the hand gripper in a more favorable position. This allows you to get maximum leverage on the gripper
We will use a very basic example using my right hand, if you are using your left just switch it round.
Start off by positioning the hand gripper in the palm of your hand, spring facing up.
Using your other hand you can assist closing the gripper into a position you are able to hold before crushing the gripper.
An unconventional approach but well worth investing some time in, just as you would do accessory movements in the gym, this would be classed as one for hand gripper training.
This will mainly improve the strength of your index and middle finger, much more than you would doing regular closes, upon inspecting the hand and finger performance on a regular close you will see that your bottom 2 fingers, pinky and ring, will be activated and used much more in the close than the index and middle.
This is purely down to the design of the hand grippers. Your index and middle fingers are still used in the close but just play a lesser part, therefore are not trained to the extent of your other 2 would be.
This inverted approach allows for focused training on them, simply hold the hand gripper upside down in your hand and close in the same way you would in the regular position.
You may find this grip easier or harder but it is a movement that should not be ignored as you want every finger working hard to crush the hand gripper, especially when your creeping up towards the CoC #3.
These are an essential part of improving your hand gripper crushing power. Negative reps require quite a high level of mental training as well as grip strength, it can be hard focusing on the squeeze.
Negative reps are also great for training your central nervous system.
To perform this close you will want to set the hand gripper in the same way you would for a regular close but this time when you've closed it your going to keep it shut, just for a second, then very slowly just open your hands, trying to take as long as you can, up to around 6-8 seconds without completely stopping. As soon as the gripper is fully opened again close it shut as hard and fast as you can, slowly releasing it again.
This negative style of training really focuses on the eccentric portion of the close promoting great power for your crush grip.
Another gripper training style that you could put into the accessory category. This is a style of hand gripper training you probably haven't seen before but it has its uses and for reaching your gripper goals it is definitely one that should be incorporated into your routine.
As in the previous exercise with the inverted grip, that was mainly focusing on the index and middle finger, this exercise is too but can be switched between 1-3 of your fingers.
The aim of this is to strengthen your weaknesses making your overall hand grip power better, it can also aid you for other pinch lifts such as the Pinch Blocks, Half Penny or general Plate Pinches.
To perform this exercise you will want to place the hand gripper the same way you would for a regular close just a little bit higher in the hand, but instead of wrapping all your fingers around just use the top 1,2 or 3 depending on what you want to focus on. The video below shows me using 2 fingers as that is what I find benefits me most for hand gripper training progression.